Champions League Group E Preview & Predictions – AEK Athens / Ajax / Bayern Munich / Benfica

AEK Athens
Never won the Champions League
The good news for AEK Athens is that they avoid Bayern Munich for their first two matches in Group E.
The bad news for Athens is that games three and four are against Bayern.
AEK Athens qualified directly into the Third Qualifying Round by winning the 2017-18 Superleague Greece.
They beat Celtic 3-2 on aggregate in the Third Qualifying Round, and Hungarian MOL Vidi 3-2 in the Playoff Round to advance to the Group Stage
Ajax
Won the Champions League 1 time (1995) and European cup 3 times
Didn’t qualify to the group stages last season. Made it to the playoff round where they lost to Rosenborg 4-2 on agg
Came 2nd in Eredivisie 4 points behind PSV. Meaning they went into 2nd round qualification of Champions League.
They beat Austrian side Sturm Graz 5-1 on aggregate in the Second Qualifying Round then Belgian Standard Liege 5-2 on aggregate in the Third Qualifying Round, then finally Ukrainian Dynamo Kiev 3-1 in the Playoff Round to advance to the Group Stage
Going to miss selling Justin Kluivert this season though.
19-year old defender Matthijs de Ligt and 20 year old mid Frenkie de Jong are key players to watch
Bayern Munich
Won the Champions League 2 times and European league 3 times
Came 2nd in their group in the tournament last season only via goal difference to PSG
Reached the semi finals only to narrowly lose to Real Madrid
Smashed the Bundesliga last year winning it, 21 points ahead of 2nd – Schalke.
Got off to an expected flying start this season winning both their opening games (scoring 3 in each).
Made couple good signings over the summer, notably Leon Goretzka from Schalke on a free. 23, CM, German international. Class.
Will breeze this group
Benfica
Never won Champions League but have won it as the European cup 2 times
TERRIBLE performance in the tournament last season. Finished bottom of the group. Lost all 6 games. Only scored 1 goal. Conceded 14.
Finished 2nd in Primeira Liga 7 points behind Porto.
Top Goalscorer was Jonas (Brazilian) with 34 league goals.
Had to go through CL third round qualification as they finished 2nd.
They beat Fenerbahce 2-1 on aggregate in the Third Qualifying Round, and PAOK 5-2 in the Playoff Round to advance to the Group Stage

Verdict:
Bayern have got a very very easy group and will breeze this.
Athens are more than likely to finish bottom
Toss up between Benfica and Ajax who will nick 2nd

Prediction:
1. Bayern Munich
2. Benfica
3. Ajax
4. AEK Athens

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